Jim Neeley Artist’s Statement
The three-dimensional constructions I build press me to think like a graphic designer, use my hands like a finish carpenter, and obsess over the details. I am convinced that my choice to create assemblages stems from working in my late teens in a high-end custom frame shop and from
time spent with a sarcastic but inspiring graphic arts professor who had hand drafted consumer products for an ad agency in the 1960s. Both experiences helped me gain confidence in handling all kinds of materials and cultivated a fastidiousness in the way I look at and approach anything visual. A blessing? Or maybe a curse.
I can’t wait to get into my studio every day for reasons that are admittedly self-indulgent: I am free to explore whatever themes interest me. There are many. The iconic design and culture of the 1970s. Bird’s-eye views of the rural landscape where I cycle. High/low architecture, studied wherever I travel. Quirky things, irreverent things. Unrelated bits and pieces such as local found objects and recycled stuff that I re-imagine and reorganize into meticulous, elegant tableaus, all neatly contained in handmade boxes. Superfluous details of the objects I incorporate into these pieces are “erased,” leaving just the essence of mundane elements. For the observer, I hope that my work pings a distant recollection, conjures a smile and also inspires a bit of self-indulgence.